1880s era bride in the woods

The Bride and Her Ghost

Not more than 300 feet from where Woody’s cabin is now, going down a slight hill and on a flat, was a wedding to take place, overlooking a beautiful canyon and a mine that was in operation. The year was somewhere around 1870, but the history of this isn’t written, like most events of that time.

The bride was a young, slender gal, and according to the story, was dressed in a beautiful. white wedding dress. The wedding was to be held just after noon that day, just as soon as her husband-to-be finished his morning shift in the mine below. He needed to do that shift because it was good income for him and the Superintendent for the mine promised him a wedding bonus when he finished the work that morning.

It was a big wedding party, with just about everyone from the local town there. The miner was well known, a young fellow who had already made his mark as a miner, and was well known and respected by the town folks.

There was a hustle and bustle of everyone getting ready, and down in the mine he was finishing his last hour of advancing the face of the mine, along with the rest of the crew.

Well, the story goes that the groom-to-be had his mind on the wedding, and not on his work. He decided that baring down the ceiling after the blast wasn’t necessary in this case, and he was in the process of pulling out some larger rocks from the muck pile to stack behind him. He didn’t hear the trickling of dirt on the sidewall warning him of a potential fall, and he didn’t see the fine grains of old river sediment slipping from the roof, slowly starting to release the pressure from above. His mind was about his bride, and his underground sensing skills had floated away in his dreams of what was to be. Suddenly it seemed quiet, then the slip from the ceiling was instant, and tons of rock and gravel roared down, leaving absolutely no time for him to move. It was quick, and he was down, hard -and he was down forever.

It was not quite noon time yet, and not time for the crew to come up. As she looked down the hill towards the mine, panic set in as she saw the entire crew of miners plodding up the hill early, towards her. There were no smiles, no laughter as there normally was. Their heads were down, their eyes averting from looking up towards her. She knew something was tragically wrong as the Foreman stepped forward, reaching out his hand to her, his eyes signaling tragedy and despair. His words sent shivers through her, and the story goes that she screamed, whirling away from everyone, then running into the woods on the hillside. The areas were heavily woody, and no one pursued her, thinking she needed some time by herself.

Then it became early evening and by dark she still hadn’t returned. Panic set in among the miners and their women folk, and they searched without success. Days passed and she had just plain disappeared without any trace, of any kind. According to legend, to this day she was never found but…. she has been seen many times in these mountains near the mine since then, but that’s getting a little ahead of the story….

In the late 1940’s Woody moved from the Bay area, building his small cabin on a corner of his 5- acre piece of property. He was the first in this specific area since the 1930’s.

One of the subjects he liked to talk about was the Bride, and when he talked about his encounters with her ghost there was no question about his truthfulness and honesty. There was not a twinkle in his eye when he related these events to us, and that twinkle was always a give-away if he started straying into the land of fiction.

Woody said that in the 1950’s he was working out in the woods a few hundred yards from his cabin, when he happened to look into the woods and caught a fleeting glimpse of a white dressed figure slipping behind a tree. He decided to check out what he just saw, thinking his imagination was getting the best of him and, as he got maybe thirty yards away, a slightly built woman darted from behind the tree and quickly slipped behind another large, towering cedar. He was startled, because the figure was dressed in a white wedding gown! He quickly moved that direction and she again darted from the cedar to behind another large pine. He got a better look this time, and she was definitely wearing a long, white wedding dress that was tattered and soiled.

Woody said he decided right then that his wife Josephine, instead of being back at the cabin, was having a little fun at his expense. She knew the story of the Bride, and being somewhat mischievous, was pulling a prank on him. Since the Bride seemed to be moving away from him faster than he could catch up, he decided he would make a run for the cabin and would simply wait there for his wife to come back, and he could have the last laugh! He ran back as fast as he could, making sure there was no way that his wife was going to beat him back. He plopped down on the chair on his porch, breathing heavily, smiling, and knowing he was now in charge of this little joke.  Josephine, hearing the noise on the porch, came out of the kitchen where she had been cooking. “Woody, why in the world are you breathing so heavily… what have you been up to now?”

Woody says he just stared at her, and right then decided his work in the woods was finished for that day, and maybe a few more days….

A year later two hunter friends of Woody’s drove down his long dirt road, driving up to his cabin. It was already late evening, and the sun was just dropping out of sight. Deep shadows were everywhere and in maybe another 15 minutes it would be totally dark. He invited the two friends in and their manner started to disturb him. They really didn’t seem to want to say too much, and he ended up carrying most of the conversation. Finally, he just plain got blunt. “What in the hell is up with you two? You haven’t said two words since you came in.”

Woody said they looked at him, and he could see the fright and startlement in their eyes. “Woody, you’re going to find this hard to believe, but here’s what happened. Just as we came down the road, back at the turn where the spring is, we saw a woman standing on the side of the road. When she evidently saw our truck, because we were moving really slow, she bolted across the road and ran down the hill into the trees. The scary part is that she was wearing a white wedding dress! It looked old and torn, and when she glanced at us her eyes, like, looked right through us. It was scary.”

Woody said both men were restless in their chairs, and he began relating the story to them about the Bride of Sucker Flat, giving them an explanation of what they saw. By the time he finished the story, they were putting their coats on, and absolutely refused to have dinner with him. He said they left in a real hurry, and they never came to the cabin again.

As time passed, Annie and I came into the picture. It was in the late 1970’s, around 8:00 PM at the cabin, pouring rain, and Woody’s cabin was almost rocking from the strong winds. The cedar shingles on the side of his cabin that he had hand-made were rattling from the force, but inside his Franklin wood stove was keeping all of us warm and comfortable. His oil lamp provided decent light and Annie and I were enjoying his company. His wife, Josephine, had left years ago and we simply were visiting for part of the evening. Woody always had his CB going, listening to all kinds of stuff, and when he didn’t like what he heard he would jump onto the CB and give them absolute hell. He was evidently notorious for this. The CB always seemed to be crackling and it became a background noise once you were used to it.

As we were talking with him the CB crackling stopped completely, like it had just gone dead. The quick ominous silence stopped our conversation, and before we could speak, a voice came across through his CB radio. The voice was low in volume, but very distinct. It was feminine but not high pitched. There was absolutely no background noise “Woody… Woody, look out your window….” The CB went back to complete silence, and all three of us seemed startled, as we hesitated. Woody reached over to the side of his table, placing his hand on his 38 Special he always kept there. We looked at each other, starting to think we maybe didn’t hear what we thought we heard.  Then it came again, this time more persistent “Woody, Woody, look out your window Woody.”

This time we moved to the window and looked. We saw almost nothing except extreme blackness and hard, pounding rain. I say almost because we did see a movement of light, but was that just a flash of lightening? The wind was swinging his shed door from side to side, but other than that, there was nothing. Our conversation the rest of the evening was more subdued, and it ended earlier than our normal visits. Later that evening, out in our camper, we snuggled a little closer as the storm continued, our minds traveling to the history of the area and the story of the bride. Was this another encounter? Woody thought so.

Ask me today if I have seen the Bride here? I’m somewhat skeptical about such stories and events, but I can also tell you something that will rattle you, but I’m keeping that to myself for a while, and maybe forever.